The Oneness of the Church
Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote an excellent little book entitled Life Together while living in a communal setting with pastors. In a powerful quote, Bonhoeffer warns against rejecting a church because of its imperfect fellowship and not living up to our ideals:
God hates visionary dreaming (ideals of what the church ought to be in our minds); it makes the dreamer proud and pretentious. The man who fashions a visionary ideal of community demands that it be realized by God, by others, and by himself. He enters the community of Christians with his demands, sets up his own law … acts as if he is the creator of the Christian community, as if his dream binds men together. When things do not go his way … he becomes, first an accuser of his brethren, then an accuser of God, and finally the despairing accuser of himself. (pp. 27-28).
The oneness of the church is a divine, blood-bought reality, not something we think up and create. It is easy to see a church’s imperfections and lose trust that God is at work in the community. However, we are not called to love Jesus’ bride because she is perfect but because she is His. Instead of living in continual disappointment, bitterness, and frustration with our brothers and sisters in Christ, let us begin to see the Spirit at work in and through them. God has sovereignly designed the church to have members who are very different from one another, in order that they might serve one another, for the spiritual health of the whole body. Remembering this will bring a lot more joy and a lot less division!
May God continue to grant unity to Jubilee!